|Losing wallets and weddings!
||[Sep. 14th, 2016|01:21 pm]
It has been over a week now that my cousin Jeremy (on my Father’s side) got married. I haven’t seen him in person since 1986 while visiting that part of the family in the Chicago area. That visit was fun, invigorating and a good reconnection with family that I needed at the time.
Fast forward 25 years later, the interweb reunited our family – if only electronically. Getting updates about my Aunt, Uncle and cousins lives was always uplifting at just the right time.
My previous physical interaction with my favorite part of my Father’s family was the summer of 1975. I was 11 years old and got to spend a whole summer in the Midwest. The first thing I was amazed by was the fireflies. Bugs that glow in the dark! (yes, I’m still thrilled about them to this very day) Then, getting an eye opening life lesson from my aunt that helped me see the world a little different . A lesson that I use to this very day. There are different forms of “love” I could go into detail, but that’s basically what she said (gave some unique specific examples that I’m sure most people in Western society can relate to) That simple statement opened my eyes on how to treat people.
An interesting side note (but relevant) about my aunt. The very first impression I have of remember meeting her (she was at my baptism.. which I obviously cannot recall) was when she and her family came to pick our family up at the train station in Chicago. Still very clear in my mind is waiting in front of the Station, watching this crazed looking woman with a mixture of anxiety and fear on her face.. I clearly recall being scared of this woman, hoping it was not my aunt. She came towards us.. which means it was my aunt. The second she started talking to us, all that fear and anxiety melted away… right before my very eyes, this woman opened up and her smile radiated this ….glow. That glow never faded in the time I knew her.
After her Memorial service last year, my baby sister came back to reveal an interesting story about that very day. One of my other cousins told my sister that they were forbidden to even say the word “California” in the house while growing up. My aunt and grandmother did not get along to say the very least. This made painful memories of San Francisco for my aunt to the point she had passed on that fear and frustration (even if just a little) Apparently, my aunt was terrified to meet her own family from California because she thought we might bring that fear and anger from our grandmother (her mother) with us.. When she realized (within 30 seconds of meeting us in person) we did not bring it with us.. That’s when the glow emerged.
Almost 20 years after that summer, my Aunt and Uncle came to California to see my baby sister get married. I went up to her, and told her that summer saved my life and sanity. To my shock, she replied that she thought she failed. Ten years later, she notified the family (at 76 years of age) had cancer. Even with Treatment, which she underwent, the doctors said she had a 50/50 chance of living ..which, sadly she did not. I felt greatful I got to spend any time with her..and let her know how big an positive influence she was on my life.
Now we come to the wedding in California in 2016. There were about 50 people, very close friends, of which, My cousin seems to have quite a few he can truly call that, immediate family – even though we have not had physical contact in at least 15 years. His sisters had brought their families, One husband. One “life partner” and one adopted kid from (I believe the Dominican Republic) One very lovely gay couple from Chichago, friends from Brooklyn. Commenting to my baby sister, it felt like being in an episode of “Modern Family” Just before the vows were to be exchanged, everyone was invited to help scatter Aunt Kath’s ashes on the ranch.. Apparently, EVERYONE knew (and naturally loved) my aunt.
His sister officiated the vows.
They toasted (I had to drink sparkling water thanks to medformin)
We ate a lovely dinner.
We chatted with old and new friends.
They had the first dance…there was no cake! (??)
The next day, I had to call Alaska airlines informing them I lost my wallet (with my drivers lisence) They told me TSA will probably let me through since I was returning on a RT trip.. if I answered a few personal questions. Geez, they go into your work history at length. Overall, it was worth losing my wallet over.